A unified non monstrous semantics for third person pronouns

Fabio Del Prete, Sandro Zucchi

Abstract


It is common practice in formal semantics to assume that the context specifies an assignment of values to variables and that the same variables that receive contextually salient values when they occur free may also be bound by quantifiers and λs. These assumptions are at work to provide a unified account of free and bound uses of third person pronouns, namely one by which the same lexical item is involved in both uses. One way to pursue this account is to treat quantifiers and λs as monsters in Kaplan’s sense. We argue that this move should be avoided and explore an alternative route based on the idea that there is a variable assignment coordinate in the context and a variable assignment coordinate in the circumstance of evaluation, with the definition of truth in context identifying them. One fundamental challenge that arises in pursuing a unified account is to explain the difference in the way the gender presuppositions of bound and free pronouns project. The proposal that emerges from the attempt to meet this challenge is a non-indexical account of free third person pronouns and a new conception of the role and structure of assignment functions.

EARLY ACCESS

Keywords


context; indexicals; monsters; quantification; pronouns; gender presuppositions

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/sp.10.10

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

ISSN: 1937-8912

Journal doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/sp